The Washington Serious Illness Care Coalition (previously known as the
Washington End-of-Life Coalition) is a broad-based group of individuals
and organizations from across the state dedicated to helping patients, physicians, clinicians, and caregivers improve the way we discuss, prepare for, and
treat serious illness.
All people with serious illness will receive care before and after death
that reflects their needs, values, and preferences.
Promote education and conversations about living and dying in Washington
Physicians, health care professionals, and members of the public join together for a webinar on enhancing communication and connection about serious illness, end-of-life, and after-death issues—presented by the Washington Serious Illness Care Coalition.
Hope Wechkin, MD, FAAHPM, HMDC—WSICC chair and medical director of EvergreenHealth Hospice— re-introduces the coalition and its new mission, vision, values, and strategic goals.
Keynote speaker, Edwin Lindo, JD—assistant dean for social and health justice in the Office of Healthcare Equity and faculty member within the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine—explores our biases and identify ways racism impacts the care patients receive. You will develop tools to advocate for people from marginalized communities, provide culturally sensitive care that honors people’s values and beliefs, and deliver high quality, compassionate care during serious illness and at the end of life.
We close the webinar with a panel of physicians, health care professionals, and advocates who share their unique expertise and discuss how to ensure that people of every background, culture, and identity can have their needs met and their wishes explored and honored.
(Originally recorded April 29, 2022)
Click here to view the webinar.
To join, email Brendan Cox at
email@example.com. There are no
annual dues. Members will receive the WSICC information via email and will
be invited to participate in the annual meeting, typically in the fall.
Sharmon Figenshaw, RN, ARNP, ACHPN
Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner
Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest
About: Sharmon Figenshaw is a board-certified palliative care nurse
practitioner, with 30 years of experience in hospice and palliative
medicine, providing compassionate support to people and their trusted
companions in the midst of serious illness. She serves as a clinical
consultant for Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest, specifically the
POLST/Serious Illness Clinical Skills program aimed at improving how we
care for people with serious illness in Washington state. By strengthening
communication skills among clinicians and teaching the proper use of POLST
to guide care, she hopes to ensure that each person will receive care that
honors their goals and values—and have the opportunity to shape
their own ending. She continues in clinical practice as a relief nurse
practitioner for Whatcom Hospice/PeaceHealth palliative care in
Bellingham. Sharmon lives in Winthrop with her husband where they relish
the Northwest for its skiing and boating access.
Washington State Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
About: Barb has worked in hospice and home health serving patients at the
end of life since 1985. She has served patients and families in a number
of roles: direct patient care as an RN case manager, clinical coordinator,
program director, Joint Commission nurse surveyor, and as a wound, ostomy,
continence nurse consultant for both home health and hospice patients.
Barb has been in her role with WSHPCO since July of 2015. She also serves
as the CEO for the Oregon Hospice and Palliative Care Association. Through
that role, she serves on the Oregon POLST Task Force as well as the
education subcommittee of that group.
Ginny Heinitz, RN, BSN, CHPN
Palliative Care Education Coordinator & Outpatient Palliative Care
Coordinator Confluence Health
Representing: Confluence Health
About: Ginny has worked in hospice in Wenatchee Valley for 25 years;
1985-2010. She served patients and families through direct patient care,
program development, mentoring and education of new staff, and interim
directors of both home health and hospice. In 2010, along with physician
Dr. Gail Feinman, started inpatient palliative care at Confluence Health
in Wenatchee; eventually expanding the service to outpatient clinics and
the community. Ginny provides consultation to patients either through MD
referral or self-referrals from patients and families. She strives to draw
forth the patient's story and understanding of their illness and
situation, and then begin to tailor health care to the patient's hopes and
values, so as to provide the best possible care as the patient defines
living well. She also is involved in providing education and mentorship of
effective communication for health care providers throughout Confluence
Health, and also provides community education centered on how to
effectively talk to your doctor while trying to navigate the complicated
maze of health care when you are serious and/or chronically ill.
Jessica Martinson, MS
Director of Continuing Professional Development
Washington State Medical Association and WSMA Foundation for Health Care Improvement
ACP Consultant, Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest
Representing: WSMA Foundation for Health Care Improvement
About: Jessica designs and leads statewide initiatives to address health equity, end-of-life care and advance care planning, physician burnout, shared decision-making, and the opioid epidemic. As an ACP Consultant for Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest, she supports health care organizations to deliver patient-centered advance care planning services. She also oversees WSMA’s leadership development program, quality improvement program, and the Medical Officer Collaborative.
Wendy McGoodwin, MD
The Everett Clinic/Providence Regional Medical Center Everett
About: Dr. McGoodwin is board certified in hospice and palliative medicine
and has worked on the inpatient palliative care service for the past eight
years (the first six years at Harborview Medical Center and the most
recent two years at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett). Dr.
McGoodwin has a particular interest in helping patients understand the
role of advance directives and encouraging their use and expanding efforts
to train the "front line" (i.e., primary care providers, nurses, etc.) in
the palliative care skill set. In her clinical faculty role at the
University of Washington, Dr. McGoodwin has made it a priority to train
future health care professionals (from the fields of medicine, nursing,
social work, etc.) how to work with patients at the end of life. In her
former life, before she became a physician, she ran a bioethics agency.
Most of her work was directed at legislative campaigns to prevent genetic
discrimination. Dr. McGoodwin helped draft legislation and testified
before state legislatures and Congress.
Author, Lay Consultant
About: Donna worked in the field of organ and tissue donation as the
director of the Lions Eye Bank, serving Washington, Northern Idaho, and
Alaska. Although committed to educating health care professionals and
doing public education on the importance and benefits of donation, it was
when her husband was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer her interest in
improving end-of–life care became a passion. She has authored a
book, "Legacy...Reflections Along the Way," that is being used to assist
personal storytelling and promoting "dignity therapy" for hospice patients
and their families. Donna presents educational workshops for Cancer
Lifeline and EvergreenHealth and is a certified laugh leader with the
World Laughter Tour. She is on the executive committee of the Northwest
Parish Nurse Ministries and serves as a network coordinator for the
Communications Director, Washington State
Representing: Washington State Hospital Association
About: Tim manages the day-to-day communications functions at the Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA), which serves all of the 100+ hospitals in Washington State. Through his role, he helps the association advocate for a healthier state and increased access to care, which includes work through serious illness and end of life. Tim has a background in journalism and nonprofit public relations and offers consultation for the steering committee’s public-facing work. His interest in the field stems from his strong belief in respecting individual care wishes at the end of life.
Kathryn Schlenker, DO
Clinical Assistant Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine,
University of Washington Medical Center
Representing: Individual About: Dr. Schlenker is a full-time palliative
care physician with the inpatient palliative care consultation service at
the University of Washington Medical Center. She provides direct patient
care, providing symptom management, support and guidance with complex
medical decision-making for patients and families facing end-of-life
decisions. She also provides end-of-life education throughout the hospital
as well as support/debriefs for difficult cases. She acts as an educator
for medical students, residents and fellows rotating on the palliative
care service. She has also given talks regionally and nationally about
palliative care and end-of-life topics.
Bruce C. Smith, MD, MACP
Medical Director, Providence
Hospice of Seattle Representing: Individual
About: In his practice career Dr. Smith provided primary care and
specialty geriatrics for 20 years, then served as medical director for
Group Health's hospice, palliative care and nursing home programs for five
years. He is active in a variety of regional and national organizations
representing geriatrics, end-of-life care, medical ethics, and health
policy. He is currently the Medical Director of Providence Hospice of
Seattle, the past chair of the steering committee of the Washington
Serious Illness Care Coalition, co-chair of the Washington POLST Task
Force, and serves on the Leadership Council of the National POLST
(Immediate Past Chair)
Deborah is retired from the Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA),
where she served as the vice president of membership, coordinating
services to hospital and health system members, organizing the WSHA Annual
Meeting and other major events, and developing educational programs for
members of hospital and health system governing boards. Her career focused
on the civic, non-profit and government arenas. She was the executive
director of Seattle CityClub for many years and coordinator for the
Washington State Centennial in King County. Earlier she worked with the
National Conference of State Legislatures (Denver based) and in public and
congressional affairs in Washington, D.C. Deborah also serves on the
advisory board for LifeCenter Northwest and on University of Washington
Medical Center's (UWMC) Patient and Family Centered Care Program's
steering committee and the UWMC quality of care committee. She is a past
board member of Book-It Repertory Theatre. Her commitment to end of life
work comes from deeply affecting personal experiences: her father died
after a lengthy struggle with Alzheimer's, her mother is currently
contending with Alzheimer's and her late husband had a five-year journey
with Hepatitis C and a liver transplant, before dying in 2006.
Hilary Walker, OT
ACP Program Coordinator
HCPNW Facilitator and Instructor
About: Hilary Walker has worked as a geriatric OT for over fifteen years,
working mostly in acute care and ICU. She has seen many families and
patients struggle, accept and let go into their own mortality and embrace
the preciousness of life. She has been involved in advance care planning
and end-of-life options in Washington state for the past six years,
studying as a death doula, ACP facilitator, student, and teacher.
Currently, she has the honor and opportunity to be the first ACP program
coordinator for PeaceHealth.
Hope Wechkin, MD (Chair)
EvergreenHealth Hospice and Palliative Care
About: A family physician by training, Dr. Wechkin has served as the
medical director of EvergreenHealth's hospice and palliative care programs
since 2007. Having served as a physician consultant on the University of
Washington Medical Center's palliative care service and co-directed (with
Stu Farber, MD) the palliative care track of the chronic care clerkship at
the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Wechkin now serves as
a guest lecturer in end-of-life care in the annual summer seminar in
medical ethics that is held at the University of Washington School of
Medicine. In her role as physician co-chair of EvergreenHealth's ethics
committee, Dr. Wechkin led EvergreenHealth's successful efforts to retain
the services of a professional ethicist and to form a joint ethics
committee with Virginia Mason Medical Center. She has been an active
member of Washington state's Honoring Choices work group, and has worked
with ACP (Angelo Volandes et al.) to increase access for EvergreenHealth
patients and families to education regarding decisions at the end of life
through video discussions.
Owner / Executive Director
Antares Wellness / A Sacred Passing
Representing: Antares Wellness / A Sacred Passing
About: Lashanna (she/her) is, at her core, a helper; a doula and massage
therapist who merges formal education, ancestral knowledge, life
experience, and all six senses to guide her care. She serves individuals,
families, intentional communities, and small businesses with end-of-life
education and planning, body care education, home wake celebrations, and
creating legacy pieces. She has a never-diminishing desire to grow
community care through education and collaboration; to fully support
autonomy and choice through abortion, death, and dying. Lashanna is a
member of multiple organizations that focus on end-of-life issues. Her
goal as a community deathcare educator is to grow anti-racist spaces and
practitioners deathcare and education.
WSMA CME Coordinator